Lower South

July, 2009
Regional Report

Keep Mower Blade Sharp

Check your lawn mower blade. Nicks and dents may indicate a need for a new blade. Sharpen your mower blades regularly. Dull blades can cause a brownish discoloration of the cut ends of stems and leaves shortly after mowing. Multiply these tiny tan to brown tips times a million and your lawn takes on a less attractive color and appearance.

Plant Color for Shade

Put some color in shady areas of the landscape this summer. Now is a good time to plant caladium, impatiens, begonia, penta, and torenia in well-prepared shady areas. Mix a couple of inches of compost into the soil and water the new plants in with a dilute fertilizer solution.

Tune Up Crape Myrtles

Keep crape myrtles vigorous and productive with a good soaking every week or two and light fertilizer applications every 4 to 6 weeks during early to mid summer. Remove spent bloom heads before they set seed. This will improve the appearance of the plant and direct energy into more blooms.

Back Off On Turf Fertilizing

Hold back on lawn fertilizing during the summer months. The clippings will decompose rapidly in our hot southern summers to feed the turf. Extra nitrogen can result in rapid growth and the need for extra water to keep the grass going. Lush, succulent lawn growth is more susceptible to some insect and disease problems too.

Trim Interior of Fruit Trees

Some fruit trees are growing rapidly this time of the year. Vigorous upright shoots in the center of the tree need to be trimmed back to allow light into the canopy of leaves. Otherwise the young shoots on the inside of the tree, which would carry much of next year's fruit, will be shaded and die back (or at least become much less productive).

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